November 18th, 2017

Evaluating sexual offenses: Part I

Like just about everyone else, I’ve been mulling over the allegations (some ancient, some quite new) against Bill Clinton, Clarence Thomas, Roman Polanski, Harvey Weinstein, Anthony Weiner, Bill O’Reilly, Donald Trump, Roy Moore, Al Franken, et alia. It would take a book to analyze the charges against each and their truth or falsehood and the degree of heinousness of the acts of which each is accused. But that’s a book I’m certainly not planning to write. In my mulling, I’ve been reading a bunch of opinions on the subject from the left and right sides of the web, and everything in-between, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I have a rather idiosyncratic and unusual take on this.

Some people are inconsistent—and nakedly political or self-serving—in who they think is guilty and who innocent, and the relative seriousness of their acts. Some are consistent, and I try to be able to count myself among that crew. But the consistent ones often are consistent in saying something like “always believe the women.” I’m consistent in always being skeptical.

My basic position is skepticism, which means that I am aware that people sometimes lie (accusers and accused). It means that I think it’s absurd to say that any class or group of people always tells the truth or always lies, whether that group be women or men or members of some race or class or ethnicity or profession. To me it’s not just wrong to say “group A always tells the truth,” it’s an absurdity and an abomination and against our devotion to judging people as individuals and judging them on actions and evidence.

And by “judging,” I don’t just mean in the legal sense. I don’t mean as though we are a jury needing proof beyond a reasonable doubt. But I think we do need evidence—not “evidence” in the purely legal sense, either, but evidence in the sense of something that backs up a person’s naked unadorned word for it, or something that tells us that there’s a reason to trust the person telling the story. I’ve heard too many false stories told by people who seem for all the world to be sincere and telling the truth.

It used to be that women were automatically distrusted when they told stories about abuse by powerful men. It’s wrong to do that, and it needed to be corrected. But the idea that women are always to be trusted on this is an over-correction. I would think that fact would be obvious, but it’s not obvious to a host of people.

It also used to be that women who told such a story ran a great risk of being blamed for it, or being called liars. That still sometimes happens, of course, but nowadays it is more likely that they will automatically be believed and called heroines. That represents something relatively new, an incentive to make charges of this sort, a phenomenon that could lead to a greater incidence of false charges.

Something similar (although different in its details) used to be true of accusations by children that someone sexually abused them. Long ago, children were uniformly disbelieved when they came out with an accusation like that. But later, it was often thought that children were sexually innocent and oblivious about sexual matters unless they had been abused, so a sexual abuse accusation coming from a child was thought to represent sexual awareness on the part of that child that could only have come from having actually been abused. So the more common belief came to be: “children always tell the truth about sexual allegations.” Sound familiar? Well, that idea was later somewhat corrected when it was acknowledged that children these days are much more sexually aware than they used to be, and that sometimes they have their own reasons for lying and/or are manipulated or forced into lying by some of the adults in their lives.

So I don’t automatically believe or disbelieve anyone. When I hear charges of abuse, I try to evaluate the truth or falsehood of those allegations in a systematic way. I consciously try to apply the same standards to all, and to be consistent.

Here are just some of the elements I think people ought to take into consideration in terms of seriousness and/or truthfulness (most of these relate more to adult victims than to children):

Was the coercion overt? What was the age of the victim? Was “no” communicated by the victim (for adult victims only; for a child it’s irrelevant)? Was it just a verbal proposition by the accused with no behavioral follow-up? Was the offender a therapist or teacher or priest or parent? When did the victim report it—was there an enormous time lag? Does the victim have a separate grudge against the accused that might have motivated a false accusation? Is there any other evidence to back up the victim’s report? If so, how persuasive is that evidence? Was there any violence involved? Is the accused a politician who is currently running for office—and has the revelation come out right before the vote, with very little time to evaluate its truth or falsehood? Does the accuser have a history that indicates she/he is a habitual liar? Does the accused have such a history? Are there other alleged victims, and (this next part is very important and not often taken into account) did all the other victims tell their stories only after the initial accusations got a lot of publicity, or had their stories been told earlier? If the latter, was the story told to the police or other authorities, or to some friend or relative whose word we have to take for it? If we have one or more very credible accusations and then a new accusation comes out, is the new one in the mold of the old ones or does it up the ante dramatically? Has each accuser’s story remained consistent, or has it morphed?

There’s much more, but I think you get the idea. Since we don’t usually have a smoking gun (Anthony Weiner’s emailed photos, for example), we have to rely on this sort of thing.

I hate to see abusers go undetected and unpunished, free to continue their abuse with others. But I also hate to see people empowered to make false accusations that are insufficiently scrutinized and could ruin the life of a possibly innocent person. I’ve described the best way I know to try to figure out how to minimize both of these occurrences. Despite its flaws, I can’t think of a better way.

[NOTE: In Part II, I plan to discuss certain specific cases in light of Part I.]

32 Responses to “Evaluating sexual offenses: Part I”

  1. Cornflour Says:

    Women should not let truth or lies about them be used by men to further men’s objectives. Women must always lie or not to further their own objectives. To deny the truth of women’s lies is the worst possible assault on their virtue, and offenders must be banished. This will be Progressive doctrine by Wednesday at sunset. Oh, what the hell, lets make it Tuesday.

  2. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Among adults, much of this stems from playing the victim. Someone fondles your bum, turn around and punch them hard in the throat. They won’t do it again. The certainty of unpleasant consequence is a marvelous deterrent.

    If they place career before dignity, then they are complicit in the assault having traded their dignity for advancement.

    Accuse someone of assault without even minimal proof and be prosecuted for slander.

  3. vanderleun Says:

    Long past time we started blaming some of these “victims.”

  4. Ann Says:

    Jezebel lives!:

    Pastor Franklin Raddish of the Capitol Hill Independent Baptist Ministries, a nationwide church, told AL.com from his South Carolina home that the spate of accusations against men in politics, Hollywood and elsewhere was a “war on men.”

    “More women are sexual predators than men,” said Raddish. “Women are chasing young boys up and down the road, but we don’t hear about that because it’s not PC.”

  5. neo-neocon Says:

    Ann:

    Well, quite a few female teachers have been prosecuted for that. So I’ve certainly heard of it.

    But in general I think when a woman comes on to a man at work, for example, the man doesn’t have the same tendency to complain. For a whole host of reasons, he doesn’t tend to feel as threatened.

    Although we’ve heard some fascinating stories on this blog about female-to-male ass-grabbing, and the like. The tales begin around here.

  6. parker Says:

    There have been a spate of false claims of racism and ‘islamophobia’ over the last few years in which the perp was black or a moslem who is the one who painted the slurs on doors, cars, or mosques. Obviously there are false claims of sexual assault/harassment. Persons found guilty of making false claims should face the same penalty as those they accused would receive if found guilty.

    But people in power abusing or harassing underlings is not a new thing under the sun. However, there needs to be a statue of limitations. Somewhere around 1 year. After that it should not be addressed by the legal system. Women and men have used sex to climb up the ladder in Babylon, Beijing, Rome, etc. for thousands of years.

    Sexuality is for many people a convoluted affair. I am glad to have never entered into that swamp.

  7. Stephen Ippolito Says:

    One of the seminal moments of my young life occurred long ago in a small classroom in Bondi as we group of 17-year-olds read out the final scenes of Othello for the very first time during an english class.

    I was struck then, and am always today moved, by the scene at the end where Othello, having been convinced by the skillful slanders of his trusted assistant Iago that his wife has been unfaithful, has resolved to murder the innocent Desdemona and calls on her to pray her last.

    The pain for the witness, it seems to me, is in the awful, implacable resolve and complete deafness of Othello to her truthful pleas of innocence.

    Desdemona’s appeals to reason and logic, her evocations of her universally-acknowledged unblemished character- all these count for absolutely nothing in the mind and heart of her husband-judge-executioner. It is worse than chilling. It is obscene to witness.

    We know that Desdemona is innocent, that she was in fact till just minutes before completely unaware of the allegations against her, and has been convicted in the court of her husband’s heart without a trial where evidence could be objectively weighed. The audience member feels the enormous, obscene injustice of an innocent convicted in the private court of a man’s heart – with all truthful denials dismissed out of hand, unconsidered, as though they were nothing.

    Desdemona has been spoken against by a skillful liar of cunning and credibility and has been convicted in the private court of her husband’s heart. The fair trial that civilised people wish for her is not to take place and here’s the point: the sentence is no less savage and final for lack of a formal trial.

    Always in the background for me these decades later of lived experience and legal practice where I saw these things played out is the truth of the line in Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”: “People generally see what they look for and hear what they listen for” – so we must make the effort to avoid trials in the private recesses of the heart, as tempting as they always are.

    It is the same with people like Judge Roy who currently stare down the finger-pointers. Yes, the courts of mens’ hearts are always in session and are always free to convict or acquit – but the penalty to be paid for a conviction in the private court of a man or woman’s heart is just as serious and terrible and irrevocable as that which is paid after a fair and open trial: a life’s work and reputation trashed, careers and family ruined.

    The greatest modern day exploration, at least in english, of a person unjustly accused of a crime is arguably “To Kill a Mockingbird”, where the accused is shown to face judgement in the two separate venues: an open, public trial and a secret trial in mens’ hearts. It is clear not only which is to be preferred but also that the latter is to be avoided at all costs.

    The principled Atticus stands between Tom and injustice in the open court room at a criminal trial subject to the rules of evidence and where the presumption of innocence is intended to apply “..that’s no ideal to me. That’s a living working reality”.

    At the same time, Lee paints a picture of the various alternatives to an open trial and the presumption of innocence: a lynch mob, the cowardice of jurors unwilling to go against public opinion and most tellingly of all: blind, instinctive bigotry and prejudice. Human nature never varies. Shakespeare’s truth in Othello is spoken to by Lee when she observes:

    “Atticus had used every tool available to free men to save Tom Robinson, but in the secret courts of mens’ hearts Atticus had no case. Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed”.

    As tempting as it is to rush to judgement in our hearts we simply must refrain from doing so. The price to be paid by the unjustly accused is too high and is no less devastating just because it lacks legal sanction.

    I wish I were an Alabaman so I could cast my vote for Judge Roy – or anyone else who stares down the finger pointers – no matter how many and how credible they may seem, untested.

  8. parker Says:

    Great post Stephen Ippolito.

  9. Stephen Ippolito Says:

    Thanks, Parker. I like your work too.

  10. AesopFan Says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that I have a rather idiosyncratic and unusual take on this…. I’m consistent in always being skeptical.
    * * *
    Unusual, but not completely unique. Several celebrated fictional detectives come to mind — Holmes, of course — but I suspect that among the best criminal investigators or espionage analysts your list of questions would be quite familiar.

    Unfortunately, Moore and all the rest of the accused who deny the charges are unlikely to get the time to have them asked by such experts, much less answered, being instead subject to the verdicts reached in the “secret courts of men’s hearts” — as Stephen’s excellent essay attests.

  11. Ann Says:

    I was once a 14-year-old girl, and clearly remember finding it not just creepy, but scary, the time an older man gave me a very sexually appraising look when I was around that age. That look — just a look — has stayed with me ever since. Not sure many of the commenters here get that basic fear factor.

  12. AesopFan Says:

    Here is another story to add to your list — via LibertyUnyielding. I wonder what else the Fake News Media isn’t telling us?

    http://dailycaller.com/2017/11/15/networks-ignore-dem-candidate-arrested-for-stalking/

    “12:40 PM 11/15/2017
    A Democrat running for Congress was arrested on a stalking charge last week, but the media has refused to give the story any coverage.

    David Alcon, who is running for an open congressional seat in New Mexico, was arrested this past Friday on a felony stalking charge after a woman accused him of sending her frightening and lewd text messages and showing up at her home. Alcon was previously convicted of stalking his ex-girlfriend in 2007 and was described as “infatuated” and “clearly obsessed” by the judge in the case.

    The story has been met with silence from a number of media outlets despite their breathless coverage of the sexual assault scandal surrounding Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore.

    According to a search of the television database TV Eyes, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and NBC have given zero on-air coverage to Alcon’s arrest. The networks have also not published any stories about Alcon’s scandal on their websites in the past week.

    Meanwhile, ABC, CBS, and NBC spent more than 79 minutes talking about Roy Moore between November 9 and November 13.

    The accusations against Moore are serious and worth covering–but so are the allegations against Alcon.”

  13. neo-neocon Says:

    Ann:

    But the fear factor you describe—from a look—is subjective. A look may scare a young girl—in fact, often does scare a young girl—but that’s something she is going to have to learn to live with if she wants to go out in public. We still have the liberty to look at anyone in any way we wish. Of course, it’s rude to look at a young girl that way. But it’s what happens, and will always happen, unless we wear burqas.

    Let me tell you a story. I went through puberty when I was very young. At the age of nine I had already reached nearly my full height (which at 5’4″ isn’t so tall, but it’s certainly tall for a 9-year-old!). Until that year I had looked like a child, but now from far away I probably could pass for 16 or 17 or 18. But I didn’t know that; hadn’t realized it.

    In order to walk to the store where I used to get candy and comic books and that sort of thing, I had to pass by a baseball field and some tennis courts. I had walked past many many times and never thought anything of it. But this time—and I remember it like it was yesterday—as I walked past, I started to hear this catcalling and whistling and kissy-face sounds and various remarks. It was summertime and I had short shorts and a sleeveless blouse on. The boys on the field practicing baseball (probably teenagers around 16 or so) were making the noises. I didn’t know exactly what they were saying but I understood what was happening and why.

    I became very very frightened and didn’t know what to do. Should I keep walking? I felt frozen, and fear caused me to turn around and hurry back to my house, which was about a block and a half away.

    I don’t know if I ever made that walk again in the summertime. I was way too young for that to have happened.

    But adults have to overcome that and not see danger everywhere. Obviously, if you are being attacked or raped, that’s a whole other situation. But looks, and words—or even stupid rude jokes like Al Franken’s—should not be a big deal anymore because it was frightening as a child.

  14. blert Says:

    Let’s see:

    Juliette was 14

    The Shrew was 19

    And

    Othello is a Roman a clef —

    Shakespeare convicted his own wife in his heart — upon allegations — keeping her from his bed for FIVE years.

    &&&

    Candidate Cain was ultimately exonerated in court — a fact that is still not widely known.

    Hill, of Clarance Thomas infame, fits the profile of an incest victim — right down the line. Her daddy had 17 children, and obviously wore out momma.

    My rape accuser was also ‘married’ // fixated upon her late father. Something bizarre to witness.

    Both gentlemen were men of the cloth, but of course.

    &&&

    Al Franken — a professional comic — his pranks are meaningless.

    His accuser was in the sex industry. Of course a Playboy cover girl is going to be leered at, teased. Good grief.

  15. blert Says:

    BTW, Juliette’s parents were setting her up to marry a fella about twice her age.

    They were furious when she went her own foolish way.

    Romeo and Juliette is a morality tale about daughters who disobey their fathers.

    It’s not a love story.

    There’s no happy ever after.

  16. Brian E Says:

    Reading some of the recent revelations of sexual harassment or sexual assault, I drawn to the idea that some of this really isn’t sexual in nature, but a misuse of power.

    Taking from the new notion of gender, many of these charges might be better termed “gender harassment” to distinguish between true offenses that are sexual in nature– an attempt to advance or fantasize sex overtures.

    Once we remove the stigma of sex from these harassments, it seems it would allow a better way to find the appropriate penalty.

  17. DNW Says:

    Geoffrey Britain Says:
    November 18th, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    Among adults, much of this stems from playing the victim. Someone fondles your bum, turn around and punch them hard in the throat. They won’t do it again. The certainty of unpleasant consequence is a marvelous deterrent. “

    Ha. If you saw me mention this before, ignore it. So, I am walking downtown in Chicago, North Michigan or Ontario or some other street loaded with hotels or one bar and grill after another. I recall there were scaffolds nearby. So anyway I’m ambling along on a crowded sidewalk behind several of my “colleagues”, older guys in their 40’s and 50’s, as they point out all the hotspots they have drunkenly stumbled out of over the years at the conventions and IMTS affairs. Good looking women everywhere, till we get to a sketchy somewhat darker block en route to more lights.

    That’s when someone in back reaches behind and grabs the crotch of my suit … with me in it.

    I react with my lousy imitation of a spinning back-fist before thinking: and half way through the motion, my conscience activates … but too late.

    Fortunately my forearm sails right over her head instead of striking a neck.

    My buddies who turned to see as I yelled, start exclaiming the Lord’s name and shouting “You could have killed someone!!”

    It’s a short little street person called Crazy Mary who is known for the activity.

    Collected, and glad I did not murder a tiny crazy woman, I point my warning finger down at her and sternly tell her off. She demands a quarter. The guys rag me into giving her a quarter. I do; along with another admonition to behave herself.

    I turn around and begin walking when she does it again.

    I got a better deal in a crowded bar later that night or a few days later that night when I was assaulted by a woman decidedly more sexually appealing.

    Still it was assault. Whaaa. I am a victim too!

  18. neo-neocon Says:

    blert:

    Well, almost everyone who’s read “Romeo and Juliet” would probably beg to differ with you on the point of the play.

    Here’s the prologue in the play, by the way [emphasis mine]:

    Two households, both alike in dignity
    (In fair Verona, where we lay our scene),
    From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
    Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
    From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
    A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life,
    Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
    Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife.

    The fearful passage of their death-marked love
    And the continuance of their parents’ rage,
    Which, but their children’s end, naught could remove,
    Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage—
    The which, if you with patient ears attend,
    What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.

    The lovers are the heroes; the parents’ rage is the villain.

    Here are the final words of the play, and you’ll see that Juliet’s disobedience is not the theme at all. It’s not even an issue. The theme has to do with not having stupid feuds, and that you should love your children [emphasis mine]:

    PRINCE
    (skims the letter) This letter doth make good the friar’s words,
    Their course of love, the tidings of her death.
    And here he writes that he did buy a poison
    Of a poor ‘pothecary, and therewithal
    Came to this vault to die and lie with Juliet.
    Where be these enemies?—Capulet! Montague!
    See what a scourge is laid upon your hate,
    That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love!

    And I, for winking at your discords, too
    Have lost a brace of kinsmen. All are punished.

    CAPULET [Juliet’s father]
    O brother Montague [Romeo’s father], give me thy hand.
    This is my daughter’s jointure, for no more
    Can I demand.

    MONTAGUE [Romeo’s father]
    But I can give thee more,
    For I will raise her statue in pure gold,
    That whiles Verona by that name is known,
    There shall no figure at such rate be set
    As that of true and faithful Juliet.

    CAPULET
    As rich shall Romeo’s by his lady’s lie,
    Poor sacrifices of our enmity.

    PRINCE
    A glooming peace this morning with it brings.
    The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head.
    Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things.
    Some shall be pardoned, and some punishèd.
    For never was a story of more woe
    Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

    The lovers are the heroes—“true and faithful Juliet” “and her Romeo”—not “disobedient Juliet who was correctly punished.” The parents are punished for their feud and their mistreatment of their children. Shakespeare makes it crystal clear.

  19. Frog Says:

    Neo says, “If we have one or more very credible accusations and then a new accusation comes out, is the new one in the mold of the old ones or does it up the ante dramatically? Has each accuser’s story remained consistent, or has it morphed?

    “There’s much more, but I think you get the idea. Since we don’t usually have a smoking gun (Anthony Weiner’s emailed photos, for example), we have to rely on this sort of thing.”

    Rely? Why? We HAVE TO?
    This is evidence of legal thinking?

    Here we go again: http://www.latimes.com/business/hollywood/la-fi-brett-ratner-russell-simmons-20171119-htmlstory.html

  20. neo-neocon Says:

    Frog:

    That passage of mine means that, in the absence of real evidence that is not just the testimony of the accused and the accuser (he-said/she-said testimony), we must rely on the entire set of facts that we uncover. That would include things like when the stories came out, and the answers to all the other questions I asked, as well as other questions not listed in the post.

    That’s not legal reasoning. That’s just logic. What else could a person rely on to make a decision about the truth or untruth of someone’s story? Shall we read tea leaves? Or have trial by ordeal, or trial by combat?

  21. Dave Says:

    Skepticism Is the most fundamental principle of innocent until proven guilty. Nothing tells me more about democrats and liberals being evil, tyrannical, and anti America than their constant push for this guilty until proven innocent bullsh*t with the women never lie propaganda. Accusations are always true, until when Hillary’s husband became the accused, then that is when you hear about due process or women lying for political purposes from the left.

  22. Jim Miller Says:

    If you are interested in this subject, you might want to take a look at the Ed Murray case. His Wikipedia biography has a brief account of the essentials: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_Murray_%28Washington_politician%29

    Today, Jim Brunner of the Seattle Times wrote a very good article comparing how local Democrats treated Murray, and are now treating Moore: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/as-they-condemn-alabamas-roy-moore-seattle-democrats-wonder-were-they-too-slow-and-too-quiet-about-ed-murray/

    (I plan to write a post on that article tomorrow.)

    There are some eerie parallels to the Moore case, though the accusatiosns against Murray are more serious.

    And, of course, our “mainstream” journalists really, really hate covering the Murray accusations. When he resigned, the NYT made the story last in their national section, and PBS made it last in their news hour. As far as I know, neither has come back to the story.

  23. Richard Aubrey Says:

    There needs to be a category for a boundary violation in dating where the woman objects, the man stops and, possibly, apologizes, and the relationship continues.
    To presume that is tantamount to assault or a crime later on, decades later on, is not a good idea.
    Among other things, the same move might have been welcomed in another situation, or later in the relationship.
    Back ih the day, as a fraternity grad adviser, people thought i Knew Stuff and could tell them about Stuff. So a lot of people talked to me. I can recall a couple of women who wondered why their BF weren’t more forward and a couple who were disappointed that the BF took “no” for an answer. I’m not sure what the “no” was about in one case…I think it was that he stopped pursuing her when she told him she wasn’t interested.
    Point is, as a friend of mine said, there’s a lot of ambiguity in dating, which makes it fun, and there’s not a bright line between that and harassment. There’s a difference, but its severity is gradual as one moves from innocence to molestation.

  24. DNW Says:

    One of the near constants I read in these revolting stories of victimization – and I assume the bare facts in most of them are real – is the utterly contemptible instrumental assumption that underlies these recountings as an assumed premise.

    And astonishingly, that assumption is not held by the manipulative pig, but by the victim.

    The assumption is that some people have a right to network with and be mentored by powerful others in informal situations, because … uh they want to.

    They don’t have that right. And pressing that right, and stupidly thinking that a human viper will give it to them is ludicrous.

    They have an unquestionable right to their honor (which apparently is both an alien and unfathomable concept to most modern Americans), and to their personal and bodily integrity; but no damned right to be part of any system of associations nor any moneymaking project owned or operated by others, whatsoever.

    If one of Weinstein’s victims had just killed him as he tried to rape them – and it would have been applauded in the old days – we would not be having to have this conversation now. Same for Louis CK. It’s so abominable it is supposed to upset all our lives, but not so abominable that these persons are compelled to forcefully act in their own defense. Into what a degenerate sub-race of complacent yet febrile, peasant trash, many Americans have devolved

    No wonder freedom in this country has come to mean the freedom of a parasite to live off of an unwilling host.

    These male pigs in journalism and elsewhere, are successful pigs, in measure, because of the morally deconstucted [and cowardly] young things who calculatedly approach them, while presuming that they have a right to be respected while they operate in a manner which in prior times, and on the basis of long historical experience, was considered dis-respectable.

    It’s part of the modern conceptualization of ‘society’ as a collegial, cossetting, solidarity effusing “smorgasbord for your precious ambitions”. It is that “positive liberty” concept cropping its ugly “It takes a Village” head up again.

    No wonder this country is riven by controversies over “gay marriage” and transgender questions, when half the population delusionally imagines that having their “social aspirations”, much less their perverted “love” socially recognized and affirmed, is somehow another person’s moral obligation.

  25. neo-neocon Says:

    DNW:

    I’m not sure what you’re trying to say, but it makes no sense to me.

    First of all, let’s take Weinstein. Why would any of these women have known, prior to their encounters, that he was “a human viper”? So why would they not take a meeting with him? Sometimes they were even tricked into thinking other people would be at the meeting, but discovered they were alone with Weinstein. Or someone was there at the beginning and then left (by pre-arrangement with Weinstein, apparently).

    Then you write: “If one of Weinstein’s victims had just killed him as he tried to rape them – and it would have been applauded in the old days – we would not be having to have this conversation now. ”

    Oh, really? I know of no “old days” in which a woman killing a man and alleging she did it because he was groping her or sexually assaulting her (most of Weinstein’s offenses were short of actual rape, by the way) would have been applauded. In fact, in the “old days” I know of, she would have been (1) castigated for being alone with him in the first place; and (2) have to somehow prove she was telling the truth about the assault, which in most cases would have been impossible to prove.

    In addition, how could she have murdered a much taller, bigger, stronger man like Weinstein, when he was already grappling with her? Unless she carried a knife everywhere she went, and was somehow able to get to it and use it? And had she somehow done that and not wounded him critically or fatally in the first place with the first blow (highly unlikely), then he probably would have killed HER in retaliation and successfully claimed it was in self-defense for him—which would actually have been the truth.

    You’re not making a particle of sense.

  26. DNW Says:

    neo-neocon Says:
    November 20th, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    DNW:

    I’m not sure what you’re trying to say, but it makes no sense to me.

    First of all, let’s take Weinstein. Why would any of these women have known, prior to their encounters, that he was “a human viper”? “

    Because he appears to have had a well known and decades long reputation within the industry for being just that. Many have notoriously admitted to knowing just that.

    “So why would they not take a meeting with him? “

    In his rooms, and privately, or stay when they discovered no one else was there? Because he was known or suspected to be what he was known or suspected to be.

    “Sometimes they were even tricked into thinking other people would be at the meeting, but discovered they were alone with Weinstein. Or someone was there at the beginning and then left (by pre-arrangement with Weinstein, apparently).”

    Yes in some instances that is true; which makes his actions all the more liable to a justifiably extreme response on the part of the victim

    ” Then you write: “If one of Weinstein’s victims had just killed him as he tried to rape them – and it would have been applauded in the old days – we would not be having to have this conversation now. ”

    Oh, really? I know of no “old days” in which a woman killing a man and alleging she did it because he was groping her or sexually assaulting her (most of Weinstein’s offenses were short of actual rape, by the way) would have been applauded.”

    I believe he has been accused of rape. Those who were raped by him could certainly have justified it on moral grounds at least.

    ” In fact, in the “old days” I know of, she would have been (1) castigated for being alone with him in the first place; “

    I believe I emphasized as much assuming I know of the period you mean when you speak of “the old days … [you] know of”.

    In fact it was central to my premise, which in turn uses to some extent Haidt’s paradigm of the transition from an honor society to a dignity society to a victim society in the US.

    ” …and (2) have to somehow prove she was telling the truth about the assault, which in most cases would have been impossible to prove.”

    In cases short of rape, you might correct. If the pig invites you privately into his closed door hotel room and then opens his bathrobe for a moment, you will likely have little evidence. If your blouse is torn and you are disheveled and run screaming into the hallway, it might be a different story.

    In fact though, Harvey seems to have paid very larges sums to a large number of victims who chose money compensation over the legal process. Right?

    In addition, how could she have murdered …”

    I think we agree that “murder is the wrong term here if slaying someone who is raping or has just raped you is considered justifiable homicide. And it morally is.

    I assume that you too agree that killing a rapist is justifiable as a method of prevention, or in immediate retaliation; as one’s person is not to be violated by another without mortal risk and liability to the perpetrator?

    ” … a much taller, bigger, stronger man like Weinstein, when he was already grappling with her? Unless she carried a knife everywhere she went, and was somehow able to get to it and use it?

    Although I can’t be expected to think of everything a letter opener to his neck or a broken glass to the face if he kept tearing at her clothes? I assume of course that spilling his blood on the carpet is seen as ethically preferable to and as morally justified in contrast to allowing him to spill his seed onto one.

    That I think is taken as a given?

    If not, then we have another issue entirely.

    ” And had she somehow done that and not wounded him critically or fatally in the first place with the first blow (highly unlikely), then he probably would have killed HER in retaliation and successfully claimed it was in self-defense for him—which would actually have been the truth.”

    I think that you first assume too little and then too much. First that his liability is not mortal if he has actually done to some what he was accused of doing. Next too much, when you assume that a badly bleeding producer rapist would kill an actress screaming “rape!!!” in a hotel room before she could get out.

    And I assume, that you assume, that the “she” generalized, would scream and retaliate: lest my premise regarding the devolution of some portion of Americans as less than they once were, receive grudging confirmation.

    “You’re not making a particle of sense.”

    By the standards of modern morality Americans, maybe not.

    Which was precisely my thesis. Thus:

    ” … the utterly contemptible instrumental assumption that underlies these recountings as an assumed premise.

    … not held by the manipulative pig, but by the victim.

    The assumption is that some people have a right to network with and be mentored by powerful others in informal situations, because … uh they want to.

    They don’t have that right. And pressing that right, and stupidly thinking that a human viper will give it to them is ludicrous.

    They have an unquestionable right to their honor (which apparently is both an alien and unfathomable concept to most modern Americans), and to their personal and bodily integrity; but no damned right to be part of any system of associations nor any moneymaking project owned or operated by others, whatsoever.”

    Read the story of the complaints against Glenn Thrush, not for the gravity of the offenses per se, and not for the nauseating behavior of Thrush himself, but for the admissions of the wannabe’s that they had a moral entitlement to schmooze; and for the predator’s cynically sanctimonious setting of the stage.

  27. neo-neocon Says:

    DNW:

    The “many” who admitted to knowing of his reputation were mostly older actresses who had been in the business, not the very young and up-and-coming actresses on whom he tended to prey. They would have much less reason to know, for the most part.

    In addition, many of them (as I already mentioned) who DID know thought they were protected because they were meeting him with other people. And in many cases the other people actually were present—at first, and then withdrew.

    I think you need to familiarize yourself more with the small details of the stories, which are important in this case to understand how those women were tricked.

    Your assumptions about her fighting back are absurd. How on earth is she supposed to get her hands on broken glass? This isn’t two men in a bar fight on the movies. These women—unless they were brandishing weapons at the outset—hadn’t a chance.

    Also, if you killed someone raping you—before he raped you and before he ejaculated, so there was no DNA evidence in your vagina—how on earth would you prove rape (and even with DNA evidence, the prosecution could allege the sex was consensual)? Also, the vast majority of the allegations did not include rape, so it’s irrelevant anyway except in the small number that did (I think that number might be one, but I’m not sure).

    I think you are showing ignorance—or naivete—about a whole set of things, both legal and otherwise. What you suggest is unreasonable on many levels.

  28. DNW Says:

    “I think you need to familiarize yourself more with the small details of the stories, which are important in this case to understand how those women were tricked.”

    Perhaps like this. Allegation:

    “McGowan wrote, “I told the head of your studio that HW raped me. Over & over I said.”

    Possibly she meant over and over all at once. Otherwise the lack of preparedness suggestion does not stand, does it.

    “Your assumptions about her fighting back are absurd. How on earth is she supposed to get her hands on broken glass? “

    It’s not pre-broken, if that is what you mean. But a hotel room usually has some glasses in it.

    One of the kinds of detail which you suggested might be useful:

    “Juliana De Paula, a former model, told the Los Angeles Times that Weinstein groped her and forced her to kiss other models in New York a decade ago. She added that when she tried to leave, he chased her around naked, and she had to fight him off with broken glass.”

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2017/10/27/weinstein-scandal-complete-list-accusers/804663001/

    And now, I think I’ll drop this, as my quoting carefully seems to be doing no good, and you seem uninterested in doing so in response.

    I’ll end by repeating my general premise for the third time: which was about a certain sense of social expectation that was both prudentially unjustified, and self-servingly solipsistic; and which reflected a devolution to a victim-privilege mentality on the part of too many Americans who seem unwilling to defend their own honor. If they ever imagined they had any, that is.

  29. DNW Says:

    I don’t like quoting this stuff, but just so there is no doubt about the crazy response on the part of some of these victims …

    Fool me once:

    “An unnamed Canadian actress from Toronto is launching a lawsuit against Weinstein, alleging the movie mogul sexually assaulted her while filming a movie in Toronto in 2000, according to the Toronto Sun and CBC News. Once alone with the actress in his suite at the Sutton Place Hotel, Weinstein allegedly asked her if she liked massages, exposed himself to her and performed oral sex on her without her consent. Once she was able to free herself, she left the hotel and told her agent. The lawsuit claims the Jane Doe returned to Weinstein’s suite after he insisted there had been a misunderstanding

    whereupon he jumped her again.

    Who would have imagined he would attack again?:

    “An unnamed actress filed a lawsuit against the mogul in Beverly Hills on Nov. 14, according to the Associated Press. Known only as “Jane Doe,” the woman alleges Weinstein held her against her will while he masturbated in a Beverly Hills hotel room in 2015. A year later, she says, he threw her on his bed in a hotel room, started performing oral sex on her and then held her down while he masturbated on her. “

    He raped her twice and then never called:

    Paz de la Huerta, 33, a model and actress best known for roles in Boardwalk Empire and A Walk to Remember, accused Weinstein of raping her on two separate occasions. In an interview with Vanity Fair published Nov. 2, the actress said the first alleged assault happened in October 2010 when she was 26; the second in December 2010. “I laid there feeling sick,” de la Huerta told Vanity Fair. “He looked at me and said, ‘I’ll put you in a play.’ He left and I never heard from him again.”

    Weinstein is a pig. A criminal pig, and a moral degenerate. But there is something seriously, unconscionably wrong with the females in the quotes above; unlike the heroine of the following story:

    “Juliana De Paula, a former model, told the Los Angeles Times that Weinstein groped her and forced her to kiss other models in New York a decade ago. She added that when she tried to leave, he chased her around naked, and she had to fight him off with broken glass.”

  30. AesopFan Says:

    neo-neocon Says:
    November 19th, 2017 at 3:11 pm
    Shall we read tea leaves? Or have trial by ordeal, or trial by combat?
    * *
    The current mode is obviously trial by pundit.

  31. AesopFan Says:

    Worth a read.
    https://libertyunyielding.com/2017/11/19/whats-worse-roy-moore-accused/

    “..
    The old-guard right has its own problems with the morality of this situation. They relate directly to the false idea that we are accomplishing something morally urgent by demanding that the primary vote for Moore be set aside over unlitigated charges.

    This is no way to live. Part of that equation is that it’s no way to protect 14-year-old girls. In fact, our society would be far better set up for their protection if we went back to some of the cesspool conditions I highlighted above, and adjusted those.

    But we’re not going to. Ousting Moore isn’t a stepping stone to that, or to anything else that would actually do 14-year-old girls any good.

    The effect, rather, is to set aside a primary vote and thwart the will of Alabama voters. That’s it. No will exists anywhere, including among the old-guard right, to pursue Moore’s case, or any related kind of case, in such a way as to better protect 14-year-olds girls from sexual abuse.

    Since sexually abusing 14-year-old girls is already a crime in every state – as are sex crimes of other kinds, which also figure in the mix of this broader societal mess – the indicated remedy in law would be to make an example of a whole lot of people, with a slate of vigorous prosecutions. Show all politicians and senior officials that they can’t get away with having bad histories, or doing bad things while in office.

    But that’s not going to happen. * Roy Moore’s critics will be satisfied if he steps down. If he doesn’t, and he loses to the Democrat, Doug Jones, that will also make an end to the outrage over 14-year-old girls. There is no appetite in the political class – the class that makes the decisions about prosecutions and priorities – for a moral crusade against their fellows who are accused of sexual abuse.*

    If it’s needed, the form of accusation can be brushed off and used again for politics’ sake. That’s especially true if it is inconclusive this time as to concrete legal outcome, and leads only to a political force majeure effect.

    But the appetite that exists at the moment is the very specific one to override the primary vote in Alabama.

    That is simply not impressive as a moral motive. In the context of all the apparently tolerable social ills that depend on our current structure of government and politics, demanding political consequences for Moore – and only Moore – over still-unproven allegations looks an awful lot like straining at a gnat while swallowing camels right and left.*

    I think Franklin Graham was referring to the continuing tolerance for those social ills, and the fatal delusion that striking attitudes about Roy Moore is remedial evidence of virtue and character. It is so easy to wield that delusion as a hook in our jaws.


    Like many commentators, I’m glad I don’t face voting in Alabama on 12 December. Unlike so many folks out there, I don’t know what Roy Moore did 40 years ago. I don’t expect to before the 12th. Nor do I have great certainty about what he would do, regarding issues of law and policy, if elected to the Senate.

    I am certain of this, however: getting him ousted from the race through the pressure of unproven allegations and political criticism will do nothing to make even one 14-year-old girl safer. We can all stop pretending it’s about that.”

    *Watching the continued surge of accusations, Dyer may not be correct in this prediction. However, the accused are primarily in the entertainment business, not government, and is balanced by the stories now surfacing of unseemly behavior or criminal sexual abuse on the part of (mostly Democrat) politicians that have been ignored by the MSM.

    I suppose we must wait and see which trend prevails.

  32. Ymar Sakar Says:

    I actually know some parts of reading tea leaves, anyone else here?

    Not sure many of the commenters here get that basic fear factor.

    It is easy to kill humans and thus to be killed by humans. Not sure I feel that fear and apprehension, although I might still understand/recall it.

    Instead of living under the laws of the Divine Counsel or the divine laws, humans prefer to use lawsuits and lawyers to fight it out. This has certain interesting consequences, such as criminalizing any decision. As the State tends to do when you give lawyers, judges, “the law” made by humans, and the Government more and more moral authority, power, and status.

    The blowback from the Divine Counsel is an adjudication and lawsuit trial. And the first salvo, as it was in the case of Soddom/Gommorah and Noah’s days, was the warning. Usually some crazy person from the mountains or desert wilderness comes unto a walled city, starts proclaiming “make straight your ways, for the god that humans follow requires repentance or disasters will be placed upon you”.

    Everyone then gets together as a militia, and tries to catch and kill the crazy hermit.

    Case closed, right….

    Then a city gets wiped from existence and purged via orbital weapons, heh.

    Then they are like “wait what happened”. As in Jeremiah’s days. “I Thought our nation would never fall, as it was Exceptionally Powerful”. Americans can understand that kind of supremacy complex.

    Think it sounds far fetched? It just happened with Hollywood and Planned Profit. Due to Divine influence or just human free will, can anybody even claim ignorance of the evils they tolerate in their own country? If the King is evil, and the people vote in the King, then the punishment is on both the king and his people…

    Justified Collective Punishment. Everyone is given a choice of what to plead.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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